By Fred Wagar
Nevada Department of Veterans Services held their Nevada Veterans Advocate (NVA) conference on April 7-8, 2018. Over 60 individuals participated in the two-day session where they learned about veterans federal and state benefits.
The NVA program was developed due to the large amount of veterans within Nevada and a limited number of Veterans Service Officers (VSOs) throughout the state. With over 250,000 service members and veterans in the state and only 23 accredited VSOs, assistance is needed from volunteers to reach out to veterans, not only in urban areas, but in the rural areas as well.
The conference had volunteers from rural areas, including Caliente, Mesquite, Laughlin and Pahrump as well as those from the local communities. Eleven of the 20 modules of the NVA Course were taught at the conference. Volunteers can then go on-line to complete the remaining modules and become a certified NVA.
NVAs are individuals who educate and advocate for service members, veterans, eligible dependents and survivors to assist them in obtaining benefits. They can assist NDVS and VSOs throughout the state by helping with booths at outreach events, education seminars and more. In other words, if someone needs assistance the NVAs are there to help. They can also be instrumental in providing assistance to veterans who are completing their paperwork to submit to the VA Benefits Office through an accredited VSO.
There are already 343 certified NVAs throughout the state of Nevada with many more presently taking the NVA course.